If the pandemic has gifted us one thing, it’s a renewed appreciation of our local environment and the kindness of our communities. We’re sure we’re not the only ones who feel they have come to know almost every blade of grass in Bushy and Richmond Parks, not to mention having ears more finely-tuned to birdsong, and toes more frequently dipped into the Thames. We are incredibly lucky to have access to so much nature locally, and being surrounded by it seems to have given our lockdown-frazzled minds a mental health boost.
Reducing environmental footprints
Based in Twickenham, we established The Happy Ocean Company a few years ago as part-business/ part-campaign, and have worked with a real mix of organisations across several countries – from the Arsenal Football Club to the Government of Malta – with the overriding aim of helping them reduce their environmental footprints. Reputational and commercial pressures mean most large companies are realising the need to put in place well-conceived and authentic sustainability strategies, and this is good news for us all. It has always been our burning ambition, however, to have an impact closer to home, and to be able to call our borough the greenest in London. After all, what greater honour could we offer our most famous resident, Sir David Attenborough?
We have always advocated for the power of the individual, and believe small, incremental changes in behaviour really can have a significant impact, particularly when whole communities pull together as one. Navigating a path to a more sustainable way of life means different things to different people, and it is important that everyone gets a chance to share their viewpoint and decide on their own priorities. This is why we recently started doing some pro bono work with Richmond Council; we want to understand how residents and businesses in the borough feel about sustainability issues, and how we can best work together as a community to protect our environment, mitigate against the effects of climate change and ensure a healthy future for our children and grandchildren.
Wouldn’t it be amazing if together we could make Richmond Borough a beacon for all councils, in London and beyond, to follow? Our area could provide a blueprint for a cleaner, less polluted, more biodiverse neighbourhood, having an impact not just locally, but at a national level too.
Emma Steele & Sally Cornelius, Co-Founders, The Happy Ocean Company